Sky Sports MD Barney Francis to deliver ‘Game Changer’ lecture at Rugby Expo 2016


Rugby Expo is moving to its new home at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry on 03-04 November 2016; hosting more than 40 rugby-focused exhibitors, an extensive list of industry-wide hard-hitting speakers and over 800 attendees, the event remains the meeting place for the business world of the sport.


This year, Sky Sports’ managing director Barney Francis is to deliver the inaugural ‘Game Changer’ lecture to close the opening day of the event.


BFrancis19Francis, who joined Sky Sports in 1999 and was appointed MD in 2009, is a highly experienced and respected sports media professional whose unique perspective on the relationship between sports and broadcasters has been forged on the front line of delivering live coverage as well as in the boardroom.


At Sky Sports, Francis oversees a broad portfolio of rugby union content that includes the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand in 2017, England and Ireland home Tests, all SANZAR rugby until the end of 2020 and the HSBC Sevens World Series.


In the ‘Game Changer’ lecture, Francis will focus on the role of broadcasters in the development of rugby in a fast-changing, multi-platform media universe. In addition to reflecting on how TV has impacted on both Rugby Union and Rugby League, he will turn his attention to future trends and developments, flagging up opportunities and challenges to be faced by governing bodies, clubs and the media companies themselves.


The ‘Game Changer’ Lecture has been introduced to the Rugby Expo programme to provide an annual platform for challenging and thought-provoking input into the subjects critical to the continued development of a sport whose global footprint and commercial value has grown significantly in the professional era.


Francis will join a growing list of industry-expert speakers already confirmed for Rugby Expo 2016; these include World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont, Wasps CEO David Armstrong, Premiership Rugby’s Community & CSR Director Wayne Morris and Stuart Mison, Head of Sports Projects at Microsoft.


With its focus on the professional game, day one of the event will provoke discussion and debate across many of the sport’s topical issues, including:

  •  Finance - where to get it and how to spend it 
  • Sponsorsop - Underselling, undervaluing or just not understanding?
  • League and Union - Harmony, merger or murder?
  • Television and media - getting more from pivotal partnerships 
  • Technology - Can rugby follow Real Madrid?
  • Players - Maximising the value of your assets
  • Going global - Are international club games really working?
  • After the Olympics - The impact of rugby sevens in Rio


Day two of Rugby Expo will again switch its attention to community rugby, with continued support from the RFU and Premiership Rugby set to deliver clubs with unrivalled access to many of the sport’s key decision makers. Alongside the packed conference programme, Rugby Expo will also play host to a large exhibition showcasing the latest products and services on offer to the sport.


For more information about the event or to find out how you can get involved, visit

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